Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dearest Books,


I never thought we'd have to have this conversation but... well. I can't put it off any longer.

It's not you.

It's me.

You see I've changed. I'm no longer the enchanted, wide-eyed, credit-card wielding ingenue you seduced many years ago with your high profile novels. I am no longer impressed with your end cap displays, your glossy cover art or your famous name. I can't pretend to be interested in you when quite frankly, I'm downright bored by you.

I need more.

I need intrigue and suspense. I yearn for twists and turns, characters I feel so strongly about that I'm sure I know them, a storyline I can't forget.

We had that once, you and I. We shared so much together. You always knew just what I wanted no matter when, no matter where. You were with me at the beach, on late night flights and in countless waiting rooms.
What happened? Where did the mystery go?

Come on, don't you remember when I didn't know what was going to happen next, and how exciting that was for me? For us?

We had something special. And you were so, oh, I don't know. Unpredictable. Exciting. Dare I say stimulating?

Now?

Not so much.

Now I can read you like, well, like a book. I know what's going to happen on page 234 right around page 10. I confess, sometimes I don't even need to read beyond the dust jacket. And there it is in black and white - start, middle and end. Pre. Dict. Able.

Which makes the next 250 pages about as exciting as watching grass grow on a Chia Pet. But I stuck with you anyway. Hoping I might be wrong. Knowing I'm not.

Look, I've tried to make it work. I really have.

I gave you the benefit of the doubt time and time again, hoping that this time I will feel something. Anything. This time will be special. This time there will be magic. With a capital M.

But no.

Instead I'm sticking toothpicks in my eyelids to keep them open.

I know, we have so much history and yeah, we've had our moments together. The Time Travelers Wife... oh, that was a good one. I felt it, you know? And remember The Camel Club? How I stayed up all night because I couldn't wait to find out what happened? And The Help - so delicious I couldn't have written it better myself. What? Yes, you're right, I did love The Shack, you know I did.

It's just... well.

What have you done for me lately?

It wasn't that long ago that you would draw me in, romance me, immerse me so deeply into your world that my surroundings would melt away. I was so into you that nothing else existed when we were together.

Last night instead of reading before bed you know what I did?

I flossed.

Twice.

Look, I know I'm not perfect. I've made some mistakes. You don't need to remind me about the book with the world-jumping, language-challenged bear. In hardcover no less. I said I was sorry about that. And I still am. But it wasn't even my fault. There was that great blurb on the cover. Plus it was on a table at the bookstore. A table, which you know always draws me in. Not. My. Fault.

But even if I am to blame (which I am most certainly not), does that justify your behavior? Does that make what you are doing to me ok?

No, no it does not. And I'm not going to take it anymore.

I am no longer going to be charmed by your blatant lies. Your offers of excitement and fun, romance and suspense. Your fancy end cap displays. From now on I am not going to be swayed by your empty promises.

My friends tried to steer me in the right direction, recommending other books.
Books written with me in mind. But I wanted you. I rebeled.

They pointed me towards websites and reviews that told me how wrong we were for each other. I balked at their efforts.

I defended you, I tried anyway. Whipping open your latest effort I pointed to page 74, only to find I could deny it no longer.

No connection. No spark. Just words. Not even good words. Blah, blah, blaaaah.

And then to add insult to injury, just yesterday even Rachelle Gardner, literary agent extraordinaire, reinforced what I had been hearing all along.

When it comes to books, recommendations are where it's at.

Huh. Who knew?

Here's the thing - I want, I need, to be moved to tears. To laugh out loud. To feel emotions so powerful when we're together it's all I can do to contain them.

On second thought I don't want to contain them. I want to dance and sing and tell strangers how in love I am with my books! I want to sing your praises and buy second and third copies just to share because I love you so much!
That's it. Mediocre books, we are through.

From now on I am not going to cave to your seductions, your wanton come-hither looks from across the bookstore floor. From this day forward I am listening to my friends, and my sister and my husband and the NY Times Bestseller list and strangers on bn.com and and and...

You know what?

I lied.

It's not me.

It's totally you.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I just want to know what book, not only put you over, but picked you up and flung you over the edge!
April

Little Ms J said...

I hope you guys didn't produce any pamphlets. The child support could get weird.

Dude, read Her Fearful Symmetry. It took me a few chapters to get into, but I had no idea what was coming and it is totally effed up.

Anonymous said...

This is why you should get published, fast - so we all have something good to read!

- Barb

Carolyn said...

Join me on goodreads.com.... where readers review....

Jody Hedlund said...

Very witty. I'm finding that the longer I write, the less I enjoy reading. I think it has a lot to do with the learning the craft and then being so sensitive to it in the works of others that it takes the pleasure out of reading! I'm no longer an oblivous reader!